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USAF’s new initiative aims to speed acquisition for tech products and services, DHS releases list research areas it plans to pursue in partnership with innovative small businesses, and GSA plans to rollout schedules reform through 2020. All this and more in Public Spend Forum’s Weekly Roundup for December 7, 2018.

Air Force Aims to Speed Acquisition, Allow Startups into Procurement

The Air Force is launching a new initiative to quickly buy technology products and services from small businesses and pay for them the same day with a government debit card. BlueSHIFT, under which companies will submit proposals no longer than a few pages along with a 15-minute pitch, is designed to circumvent the months-long conventional procurement process. It also will help the service unlock the power of innovation possessed by startups and other small companies, said Maj. Gen. Patrick Higby, the director for DevOps and lethality in the office of the USAF assistant secretary for acquisition.

DHS Looks to Small Business for Innovative Solutions

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released a list of 10 research areas it plans to pursue in fiscal 2019 in partnership with innovative small businesses. The department will be offering millions of dollars to small businesses able to offer solutions to tough technical problems. The department’s Science and Technology Directorate and Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction Office announced the tentative list of technical areas for this year’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. In the coming year, Homeland Security SBIR officials are proposing research into topics including using drones to detect radiological threats, sharing cyber threat data, using blockchain for forensic analysis, and advanced identity management.

GSA To Rollout Schedules Reform Plan through Fiscal 2020

The General Services Administration’s (GSA) sweeping plan to consolidate 24 acquisition schedules into a single vehicle will play out over the next two years and will offer contractors a standard set of terms and conditions, officials said. GSA administrator Emily Murphy said the plan, which will condense the agency’s Multiple Award Schedules program into a single portal offering products and services contracts, represents a fortunate confluence of timing to potentially streamline the federal acquisition process. GSA plans to roll out the reform plan in phases between now and fiscal 2020, starting with standing up a new schedule through which the agency plans to eventually on-board approximately 17,000 contracts. Stephanie Shutt, MAS Program Management Office Director, said GSA will spend the bulk of the fiscal year establishing the new schedule, working to onboard new contractors and incorporating feedback. In fiscal 2020, the agency will onboard existing contractors to the new vehicle and consolidating existing contracts.

AWS Cloud Tech Aids Public Sector in Decision-Making Process

The FBI, World Bank, and U.K.’s Home Office have used Amazon Web Services’ (AWS) cloud technology in efforts to make data-based decisions in real time. “We listened to our customers in the government to ramp up disaster recovery and reduce cost of completion while launching new applications,” said Teresa Carlson, vice president of AWS’ worldwide public sector business. AWS-built computing and storage tools have helped public-sector technology professionals accelerate the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program application process.

Also in the news:

Cities Rapidly Taking on IoT Tech

IG Shines Light On GSA’s Major Management Challenges

Agencies Eager to Reskill Their Workforces

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